Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Care home plan to help Old Sils "survive"

A CARE home should be allowed on part of Knowle’s Old Sihillians Sports Club to help the cash-strapped organisation “survive”, a council report says.


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The 60-bed dementia care home (above) would raise £1.2m towards a £1.5m plan to renovate and extend the Old Sihillians Sports Club club house.

Members of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning committee are urged by a planning officer to approve the plan tomorrow night.

Their report says: “There are no funds available to deliver the necessary improvements as the Old Sihillian Association is suffering from a falling membership where running costs are only just met.”

It said the club has suffered losses of £188,873 in the last six years and the new club facility would be transferred to a new club, the Sihillians Sports Club (SSC).

The new club – to include existing members – “will represent a real change in the relationship between the club house and its members, as members will be responsible for the management of the site moving forward”.

It will give it more legal rights to access grant cash, it adds, as it would be a community amateur sports club and not a private company.

The applicant says the plans will “allow the continued survival of the Old Sihillians Sports Club”.

The care home would go on the site of a house – on Green Belt land near Warwick Road – that is used by association staff, who would move into the new facilities.

It would include a coffee shop, 23 parking spaces and create 68 full and part-time jobs.

Two people who live at neighbouring 1343 Warwick Road – a grand house fronted by gates – opposed the plan.

They said the scheme – 30 times the floorspace of the existing building – “far exceeds the previously developed extent of the site”.


They said: “The scale of the building is wholly inappropriate in terms of local character and townscape.”

A leaflet was delivered to 200 homes within a mile of the property and the 26 who attended an exhibition at the club left “relatively positive” feedback, the report says.

And it says the care home (artists impression above, as seen from Warwick Road) will help meet demands of an ageing population

It concludes: “It is considered that the public benefit of securing the future of the Old Sihillians sports ground and its clubs together with arrival of an extra care home provides public benefit and very special circumstances which outweighs its inappropriateness in green belt terms.” 

The report says the club house is “run down” and needs re-wiring and better heating and changing rooms.

The plan will see the bararea refurbished and the other half of the building demolished for new changing facilities, about three times the size of previous facilities.

This would provide 14 extra changing rooms and an internal link to the club house. An extra 24 car parking spaces would be provided.

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